Monday, June 04, 2007

Jenna Bush Loves Condoms (If Only Grandpa Had Used Them)

Radar Magazine has a quick peak into the new tome by Jenna Bush called Ana's story. Jenna Bush, typically the butt of jokes (Jenna and Tonica anyone?), attempts to discuss the scourge of AIDS amongst poor women throughout the third world.
With such an earnest subject, Ms. Bush has done well to deflect criticism from those who might point out that her prose—comparing Ana's life to a song, for example ("To me her words and her life are like a song—a song of hope and resiliance. I met with Ana for more than six months and listened to the melody and lyrics of her life."), or the complete and utter lack of any details of place or setting—is, well, not particularly good. And while Ana's message—abuse is bad, AIDS is a reality—seems obvious to the point of stupidity, the book's pro-condom/pro-education message is a kamikaze-like leap from Daddy's nest.

This reminded me of a factoid that rests in my head. George H.W. Bush was a strong advocate for birth control. In his very short term in the House in the 1960's, he acquired a nickname; Rubbers Bush.

Bush Senior was the co-author of the Title X program in 1969 which amongst other things funded planned parenthood and population control. In 1980, he had a born again experience. If he wanted on Reagan's ticket he had to declare that condoms, abortion, and family planning were "icky" to use the scientific jargon. He didn't mean it.

Unfortunately his son does. Bush has continued the ban of federal funds for overseas programs that promote birth control. We as humanity suffer as unwanted children grow up often get the sense that they weren't a blessing, and act accordingly.

Jenna Bush is actually following in her family's history with this advocacy. Critics have argued that Bush Sr. wanted poor dark skinned people to have condoms so they would stop producing so many poor dark skinned children, but in the Bush family, W. is an aberration.

In all sincerity, Jenna Bush is trying to do the right thing, but while advocating condom usage for poor black women at risk for AIDS is a noble gesture, her father and grandfather have put a weight on her shoulders that makes this a venture that many will question from all sides of the political spectrum.